Brian Zielinski is a graphic designer/pizza enthusiast from our fair city of Cincinnati Ohio. Brian is on a magical journey in California. Along his journey he has decided to give the west coast the Pizza Boner treatment and write up some reviews of his favorite local pizza places in San Francisco. If you like what you see, you can follow Brian on instagram at BZielinski or you can follow him on twitter @Bzielinskiii. So without further fanfare, here is Brian's first official Pizza Boner review. Enjoy.
Hey Internet, I'm Brian, a friend of Zach's currently living in San Francisco. First, let me start by saying that I was honored when Zach asked me to do some guest writing for PizzaBoner. I'd been hearing about the site for as long as I've known Zach so it was exciting for me when he finally told me that it was actually live! So, obviously, I was stoked to hear he wanted me to review some za-shops during my stay in San Francisco. I've already had plenty of pizza out here on the west coast, some good, some bad, some absolutely excellent. I only hope that my reviews do justice to the PizzaBoner name!
Today, I will be reviewing a local joint that's right around the corner from my house called Goat Hill Pizza. I've lived in San Francisco for almost 3 weeks and I've eaten at GH 3 times already…it's great. The restaurant is on the corner of 18th and Connecticut in Potrero Hill in a building whose back corner has a rad view of the Mission District (if you're lucky enough to get a window seat at dusk, you can watch an awesome sunset over some of San Francisco's trademark hills). I even heard from a local patron that the restaurant used to have a backyard built into the hill that actually had goats in it. Get it? Goat Hill Pizza. The name makes sense now. Anyway, the staff there is always super nice and the tables don the traditional red and white checkered tablecloths. Between the employees, the atmosphere, the pizza, and the location, this is my go to za-shop in SF.
Tonight, I was tired after a week of work and the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner. So, I hopped off the bus right at Goat Hill's front door and picked up two slices of cheese and pepperoni pizza, to go. I got home, broke out my notebook, and got started.
Crust: The crust is definitely my favorite part about Goat Hill. They use a sourdough crust that can't be compared to anything you've ever experienced before. For real. A dude I know named Dan, he's pretty smart, told me that the air or the soil, or something like that, in San Francisco is so different than anywhere else in the country that their sourdough bread is one-of-a-kind. Google it. It's true. In my eyes, a pizza that utilizes that uniqueness is genius. At first, I was disappointed because my crust tonight was a little flimsy. But then I realized that the to-go slices were way bigger than anything I'd ever had at Goat Hill before. And, with each bite, I still noticed a crunch as I bit all the way through the crust. Rewarding. And, as the pizza cooled from piping hot to tolerable, the crust stiffened up even more. Between the taste and the crunch, I give the crust a 95/100.
Sauce: The sauce on my pizza was probably the most boring thing about the slice. There wasn't nearly enough on there to get a good taste. But after lifting up the cheese and literally licking the sauce (dedication, folks), it's actually pretty nice. There's a good balance between sweet and spicy but it's not a homerun. To sum it up, the sauce isn't what you'll remember most about your GH experience but it could be a whole lot worse (I'm looking at you, Tony's Pizza). 75/100
Cheese: Yeah, cheese. Sorry for anyone who's lactose intolerant like my friend Chris (sorry, Chris). Goat Hill nailed the cheese on their pizza. It was baked to a beautiful golden shine and I couldn't wait to take the first bite. Upon the first few inches of yellow glory passing ever so silently through my lips…ok I'm stopping this now. When you bite the pizza, the cheese is stringy and does that awesome hanging mid-air thing that we all love. The best part is that the cheese doesn't pull off the rest of the pizza and leave you with big naked pizza bites later on in your dining experience. This is the key to good cheese. I'm not sure what kind of cheese they use at Goat Hill but I definitely tasted mozzarella and some parmesan in there too. Whatever it was, keep doing it GH, it tastes great too. 90/100
Toppings: Like I said previously, I've already had Goat Hill three times. Each time I had different toppings and each time, I was always stoked on them. My past tomatoes were perfectly plump and juicy and the bacon was orgasmic. Anyway, tonight is about the pepperoni. I don't know about you, but, I hate when pepperoni is filled with grease. Goat Hill does not have that pepperoni. When their pizza is fired, the pepperoni curls up wonderfully and gets crispy right around the edges. But, to my delight, the center still has a little give to it so it doesn't feel overdone. The pepperoni is also dusted with some spices and some parmesan cheese which added a second flavor profile to the topping. The appearance of the pepperoni was really attractive inside the box. Bomb-ass toppings, bro. 95/100
Extra: Get ready for this, because Goat Hill is the whole package. One: they have a by-the-slice option. $2.50 for cheese, $3.00 for one topping and 50 cents for each additional topping (remember, this is San Francisco and a box of pop-tarts is like, $3.95 or something crazy). It's awesome because they obviously make the by-the-slice za TO ORDER with your toppings which is a rare thing. Two: they have free delivery. I only live 2 blocks away so it's not a huge deal to walk down the hill to grab a slice but for those lazy bones out there, don't worry about forking over any more dough…….Three: get ready for this…Monday is all-you-can-eat night. For $12.00 you sit down, and order a drink, then you help yourself to the salad bar, and finally, strap yourself in. The waiters walk around all night with trays of pizza. We're talking crazy amounts of pizza. Like, pepperoni, sausage, and ham pizza; artichoke, garlic, andy black olives pizza; and my favorite, bacon, fresh tomato, and spinach pizza. The pizzas never stop coming. You literally just say "I want that" or "Nah, dude" when they offer you their crazy concoctions. It brings new meaning to the phrase Pizza Boner. 100/100
I feel like this was a really long review. I'm sorry guys. Now I'm feeling self-conscious, like I just robbed you all of like, six minutes of your lives. I just really like pizza. And writing. So, Zach, if you'll ever have me do another review, I'd be glad to do it again. In the mean time, keep those PizzaBoners raging!
Every year for Christmas Eve, my sisters and I go to my dad's house for standard holiday merriment. This year, in the spirit of the season mixed with the zeal of a true Pizza Boner believer, I decided to make home made pizza for everybody. My sister Thea sent me a recipe for dough and I found a recipe for sauce online. Once I got there, Thea kind of took over. I did some of it but the division of labor was probably 70/30 in her favor. For her consideration I won't include any pictures of her in this post because she was three days away from giving birth to my beautiful new niece at the time and she probably wouldn't appreciate it if I did.
We made two pizzas. The first one was pepperoni with fresh mozzarella on top and the second one was plain cheese for the nine grand-children running around the house. We cut the giant dough recipe in half and still made enough dough for two pizzas.
This is the first of the two pizzas we made. It's also the pizza that looked enough like a pizza to photograph.
Eventually we got the pizza topped and into the oven. This photo is the proof. Meanwhile, my sister and a few of our nephews spread out the dough for the next pizza. They sauced and cheesed it and made a special corner with bacon for one of our nephews.
The cheese pizza turned out kinda funky but from what I hear, it tasted fine. It did, however, look pretty crazy.
Both pizzas turned out pretty well and we had an excellent holiday time. At this point there might end up being a mini review from "Junior Pizza Expert" (my nephew) Tyler. We'll see if he ends up writing it up. From this point on will be a couple "December pizza" photos from a trip to Akron that I took in early December and from a local place that I hadn't tried yet.
This is from my trip to Akron in early December. I went up there to see New Found Glory in Cleveland and hang out with a friend from Akron. I had tried Capri back in April when I was up there for a different show and I really enjoyed it so I went back and got a couple pictures. Unfortunately, the lighting was a little low in the restaurant so I didn't get a ton of usable pictures.
The counter at Capri. It had a pretty small dining room but it's a neat little place that you should definitely check out if you're in Akron. Next time I go up there I'll probably do a full Pizza Boner review of Capri and try to find a couple new pizza places.
Cosmic Pizza is a place that I've been trying to check out for the past couple years but I just hadn't got to it until recently. It turned out to be decent pizza in a pretty weird environment but we had a good time.
One thing that I always look for at pizza places is specialty soda. Cosmic Pizza came up pretty big in that department. The owner talked to us about the specialty sodas they had in stock at the time and which seasonal flavors they had. We ended up getting a Kutztown Red Cream Soda and a Sprecher Strawberry soda. The red cream soda was delicious and the strawberry soda was pretty terrible. Either way, the variety was awesome and it's great to find a local pizza place with specialty sodas.
That's it for my (delayed)December pizza post. We'll have some new reviews soon. I'm trying to figure out what place we should do next. Regardless of which place we choose, the next post we do will be a full review. Also, coming up in the new year you can look forward to posts from Hannah about some great places in Iowa City and maybe a few guest posts from my friend Brian who is doing an internship in San Francisco. Thanks for checking us out and we'll be back soon.
Tonight I decided to pick up a pizza from Fresh Market so in the spirit of Pizza Boner, I figured I should take pictures and talk about it. This won't be a full review, just a couple pictures that I took with my iPhone and a brief overview of my pizza experience. There are a few topics that I will tackle eventually that don't really fit the usual Pizza Boner criteria and among them are pizza from supermarkets, restaurants that aren't pizza places that have pizza and pizza road trips. So without further delay, pizza.
This wasn't a frozen pizza so the instructions only said to put it in for 8-10 minutes but I like my pizza a little more well done so I probably put it in for about 15-20. It turned out really well. While waiting for my pizza to bake, I spent my time catching up on Community. Great show that I was way too late on.
Some of you may disagree with me on this but I've come to the belief that the best drink to go with pizza is root beer. The good thing about getting pizza at a grocery store is that you're more likely to be able to find unusual root beers. This one in particular was pretty good. It wasn't the best root beer I've had this year but it certainly wasn't the worst either.
If you get the chance give this root beer a try. It's quite refreshing and it went well with my Fresh Market pizza.
I love the label on this root beer. Root beer always has a bit of a "throwback" feel for me and this label plays into that idea completely. It's classic but it's also bright and fun at the same time.
This pizza was a definite success. I think that from now on, I'll do my best to take some photos every time I eat pizza. They might not always warrant full posts but maybe I'll do a compilation post once a month for these photos and anything pizza related that hadn't made it's way into any other posts. Keep an eye out for more coming soon. I'll be taking a trip to Cleveland within the next week and I'll be making it a point to stop by at least one pizza place while I'm up there. Thanks for reading and we'll be back soon.
Local artist and acquaintance of the site, Jeff Fillion has created a graphic representation of "Pizza Boner". Needless to say, we love it. You should too and while you're at it go check out his sweet blog. Just click on the picture to see his other awesome interpretations of strange and interesting things.
Being that this is the first review on PizzaBoner.com, I'm going to take a minute before I get started with the actual review to explain what it is we'll be doing here and what you can expect in the future. Our basic review system will include five categories. Crust, sauce, cheese, toppings and the fifth category is that little something that sets it apart from other places. There are four of us here at Pizza Boner and we won't all be reviewing every place. Sometimes it will be just one of us and sometimes it will be more. If it's more than one person, we'll most likely just include it all in one review. I don't think we've thought of everything so I guess we'll just figure things out as need dictates. Well, without further delay here is your first Pizza Boner post.
-Zach and the rest of the gang
The Newport Pizza Company has been one of my favorite local pizza places for a while now. Today we had a large half pepperoni half cheese pizza. For me, that's what I'll always get for these reviews. I think the best way to really judge a pizza place is by a plain cheese or pepperoni pizza. Some of the others might do something a little more complicated but I'll always be reviewing the basics. Back on topic, we got a large half pepperoni half cheese pizza.
The pizza was new york style thin crust. Crust can make or break a pizza and this crust was pretty good. It wasn't anything special but it was definitely solid. A lot of times you'll find that thin crust can be too soggy or sometimes it just tastes like somebody made a pizza on a bunch of saltines.
Sticking to our five point criteria, the cheese was great. They use a combination of freshly grated mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan. It's always a nice touch to find a pizza place that grates it's own cheese. Toppings were good. We only had pepperoni but I've had some bad pepperoni in the past.
You can only get so far reviewing the actual pizza. Here we come to the elusive fifth category. The Newport Pizza Company has a lot of "little somethings" that set it apart from other places, the first of which being this awesome video game table. It's a working Ms. Pacman/Galaga game that is also a table. It might not make it's way into the Pinball Corner but it's still pretty great. Another thing that really stood out to me is the location. It's less than a block away from the newly opened Southgate House Revival. It's pretty great to be able to walk over and get a slice of pizza in between bands. They also have outdoor seating when weather permits.
Upon arrival, Newport Pizza Company gave off the impression of a quaint classic pizzeria mixed with that of a more modern and youthful hangout. The seating was limited but not cramped since the spacing of the tables gave plenty of room to stretch out your legs. The elongated booths would be a great benefit to any parent hosting a child’s pizza party since you could probably fit about 8 kids in each. However, they did seem a little outlandish for a mere couple grabbing a bite. The menu offered a standard variety of toppings, specials, and pizza styles but excelled with their selection of micro brews. Most of the drinks were reasonably priced, which is a plus for customers who want to stay for a few hours to watch a game. The server who waited on us was very polite, answering all of our questions about their ingredients and baking process in detail. Being that this was my first real experience with pizza in Newport, I have to say that Newport Pizza Company has set the bar pretty high for Northern Kentucky. -Chris